Writing scholar, Peter Elbow, stated, “No one can make me doubt something I want to believe…it won’t happen unless I actually try.” The first situation that popped up in my head when I read this was someone that was blinded by love and only wanted to believe the good things in his or her significant other. In our contemporary society, the majority loves their own opinion so much that it only embraces the ideas aligning with its own. However, every great intellectual knows that to improve one’s rhetoric, one must challenge his or her own ideas and try to embrace new ones — in my humble opinion, there is a limit to ideas we should try embracing as some could be harmful to society, i.e. racism. To combat this subconscious – or even conscious- bias, Peter Elbow framed two strategies known as the “Doubting Game” and the “Believing Game”.
~ Doubting Game: challenging the concepts with which we agree
~ Believing Game: trying to embrace the concepts with which we disagree
I agree with Elbow when he says we need to build a richer culture of rationality. It is vital that when a person speaks, he or she knows the cracks and crevices in each corner of his or her words. By spitting out another person’s words, one simply looks like lost puppy, a follower..not a leader. In order to challenge my conclusions of the rhetoric I described in my previous blog, I will draw on my classmate, Marie’s, analysis of her community organization’s rhetoric.
Marie analyzed the same community organization as me, the Latin American Youth Center. She concluded that the LAYC wants their audience to see a more nurturing parent approach to community action. According to Marie’s analysis, the LAYC accomplishes this by having the audience come across words associated with motivation and inspiration, providing facts about the organization’s achievements, and by embracing diversity. To complete her analysis, Marie used the LAYC’s website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Each of these platforms has pictures and written articles serving as proof of involvement and effectiveness. Through these testimonies, it is ensured that the LAYC does reach a strong sense community action based on the empowerment of a community within the D.C. area.
Even the word “ensured” has a bit of bias in it. To begin my own inquiry of the LAYC’s rhetoric, I am choosing three documents to investigate. The first one is called, “Our Impact: Youth Demographics” (http://www.layc-dc.org/about-us/our-impact/). It provides the reader with specific statistics on the target audience for these programs. For example, the race/ethnicity, gender, age, languages spoken at home, area of residence, and country of origin of the participants are provided. Juxtaposed with this is the list of achievements of the LAYC.
The second document I chose to analyze is called, “January 2017 Youth Spotlight: Alexander Palacios” (http://www.layc-dc.org/blog/january-2017-youth-spotlight-alexander-palacios/). It is a blog written by an actual participant of the LAYC’s programs. Alexander describes the role the environment of the LAYC played in assisting him in achieving his vision of success so far in his life. It serves as a testimony that the LAYC does not just talk the talk; it walks the walk and pushes their targeted youth to succeed. It is not just someone from the corporate perspective trying to fake greatness.
The third document I chose to analyze is the reviews on the LAYC’s Facebook page. The LAYC has a 4.4 star rating. From what I could see, the overwhelming majority only had great reviews to put out there. Many adults like to point out the diversity of the students, but many of the students focus on how the LAYC has become a second home for them. In general, everyone seems appreciative.
Marie believes that these sources serve to highlight the diversity of the programs at the LAYC and the Columbia Heights neighborhood and that it is a “culturally sensitive” place. Furthermore, she thinks that providing the statistics is necessary in showing how effective the LAYC’s initiatives are. One thing that might be misleading is the word “diverse”. The philosophy behind the word “diverse” is a variety of ethnicities, with no dominant ethnicity. However, on the LAYC’s website, many of the students featured in articles, blogs, photos, etc., are of hispanic or latino descent. This is completely rational and understandable, considering it is called the Latin American Youth Center, but does this actually represent diversity? Or is “diversity” in this sense just emphasizing anything other than white?
As Marie emphasized in her analysis, the LAYC is a “culturally sensitive” place. What i have found to support this is actually the article I dissected in my previous blog post. The article called, “Inauguration Day at LAYC is to ‘Dream About a Better World’,” states how the staff and youth of the LAYC community decided to host a series of events on inauguration Day open to the LAYC youth, their families and friends to provide a safe space for them. Consequently, the latina and hispanic communities are going to have to heighten their awareness of their occupation in this country under the Trump administration, but the fact that the LAYC provided a service for this marginalized community shows its compassion and empathy for said community.
I agree with Marie in her conclusion that the LAYC shows diversity and cultural sensitivity. We both have also come to the conclusion that the LAYC employs the Nurturing Parent approach as opposed to the Strict Father approach. Although Marie and I both feel as if this specific organization would fall under the “By the People” portion of the Ryder Matrix, I specified a bit further and declared that it also pertains to the “For the People” portion of the Ryder Matrix. I am happy to partake in an investigation of my critical thinking skills, and I believe that in some cases, my opinion might be malleable. In this particular situation, I have remained with mostly the same conclusions. The one question I remain with is: What does diversity mean to the Latin American Youth Center?